Needles Highway, a great road to drive in South Dakota

Needles Highway
Needles Highway

The Black Hills of South Dakota, USA, contain the breathtaking Needles Highway. For lovers of road trips, it is a must-visit because of the breathtaking views, hairpin turns, and impressive rock formations that it offers.

Where is the Needles Highway located?

The Needles Highway runs from Sylvan Lake to Legion Lake, State Game Lodge, or Center Lake, and is full of excitement and breathtaking scenery no matter which way you go.

There are also obviously other scenic roads in the U.S. such as the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway.

You can obviously locate the Needles Highway on the map below:

Enlarge the map

Facts about the Needles Highway:

Here are some details regarding this road:

  • The granite spires that line the highway, known as “the needles,” are what give the road its name. Erosion over millions of years produced these distinctive rock formations.
  • The Needles Highway was created to access the Sylvan Lake recreation area and highlight the area’s natural beauty. The winding road provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and rock formations as it winds through the rough terrain.
  • The highway is 22.5 kilometers (14 miles) long and can be traveled in 30 minutes or less.
  • Each year, thousands of tourists travel to popular tourist destinations like the Needles Highway. Visitors come to enjoy the beautiful scenery, go hiking, and capture images of the amazing rock formations.
  • Between 1913 and 1932, the road was constructed, a feat of engineering in itself. The Needle’s Eye Tunnel, a constrained passage through solid rock that permits vehicles to pass through, is one of the most notable features.

Needle’s Eye Tunnel:

On the Needles Highway in South Dakota, USA, there is a small, winding tunnel called the Needle’s Eye Tunnel. Only a few inches of space are available on either side of a vehicle in the tunnel, which is notorious for its tight fit.

In fact, the name of the tunnel refers to how it resembles the eye of a needle. It is one of the many picturesque attractions found along the road and is a well-liked traveler and tourist destination. The tunnel is well-maintained and regarded as safe for travel despite its small size.

Needles Eye Tunnel
Needles Eye Tunnel

Why is it called Needles Highway?

The needle-like rock formations that line the route gave South Dakota’s Needles Highway its name. This winding road that weaves through the Black Hills is dramatically framed by these towering granite spires, some of which are over 100 feet tall. The road is a well-liked route for tourists and travelers due to the area’s stunning natural beauty and the difficult but beautiful drive.

A video of the journey

Also, you can have a preview of that drive. Indeed, you just have to watch this YouTube video as it shows a part of the road:

Is the Needles Highway open?

Due to weather, the Needles Highway is only open during certain times of the year, usually from Memorial Day to the beginning of October. Visitors are advised to drive carefully and at a slow speed because the road is narrow, has tight curves, and can be difficult to navigate. The road may become impassable during the winter months due to snow and ice, so travelers should check the conditions before setting out.

The route is generally well-kept and provides breathtaking views of the surroundings. The road is winding and narrow, with some areas having steep drop-offs, so it is crucial to drive carefully.

To sum up, the Needles Highway is a must-see for anyone looking for a beautiful and exciting drive. Also, this South Dakota highway is a stunning example of the diversity and beauty of the Black Hills, from its breath-taking views to its difficult roads. So, if you’re visiting the area, whether you live there or not, be sure to include this road on your list of sights you must see.

Picture credit: Sharon Mollerus on / By Little Mountain 5 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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